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Szott Ford

 Holly, MI  Outdoor lighting

A pioneer of the Ford® Go Green dealer sustainability initiative, Szott Ford is illuminating its lot with Cree® LED lighting. The difference is “stunning.”


The exterior lighting of his Ford® dealership in Holly, Michigan had been an issue for Todd Szott for more than a decade. Maintenance of the metal halide fixtures was “a constant battle.” Bulbs would dim very quickly, and his sales staff had to carryflashlights in order to read information on a window sticker.

So when it came time for a general remodel last year, Szott recognized that the time was right to remedy that predicament. In fact, the timing was perfect, given that Ford was looking for dealers ready to take the lead in its Go Green initiative, a program designed to help them reduce their carbon footprints and improve the energy efficiency of their operations.

The Go Green program is administered in cooperation with Gexpro, a national full-line electrical distributor and Cree, a strategic partner focused on new products, energy strategies and lighting technologies that make it possible to save electricity while improving facility aesthetics.

In collaboration, Gexpro and Cree offer customized interior and exterior lighting solutions designed to save money and be more energy-efficient. They had a solution that precisely met Szott Ford’s needs.


Along that front line, Cree Edge High Output luminaires have been installed, featuring Cree TrueWhite® Technology for industry-leading 90 CRI color quality and performance. The High Output solution also features Cree FrontlineOptic Technology, developed specifically for the needs of automotive dealerships.

Elsewhere, throughout the lot, is Cree® OSQ Series area lighting, offering advanced thermal management and a clean, modern housing with versatile mounting options.

The dealership is subject to pretty strict local lighting regulations, and the Cree lighting is the perfect solution. “We have the ability to control the Cree® LED lighting more precisely than we could with our previous lighting,” Szott explains. “With the local regulation, the light can only be one foot-candle at the lot line. By going with the LEDs, we were confident we could get the maximum light, and if we had a problem with the township we could just dim it down a little.”


The LED lighting was installed in stages over the course of about a month, and Gabbara says the comparison of a newly lit section against one with the previous lighting was striking: “It looked like the difference between a bright sunny day and an overcast day – it was that significant.”

Szott Ford keeps evening hours two days a week, and those hours are typically the busiest of the week. “We’re doing a lot of business under those lights,” Gabbara says. Then, after those business hours, a controller allows them to dim the lights down to, perhaps, 10 percent. Motion sensors bring them back up to full power. The dealership is thereby enhancing security while saving energy.

In sum, Gabbara says, because of the optics, the lights can be directed as needed. “It’s not like doubling the light; it’s more like quintupling it.” Moreover, the dealership is avoiding the hassle of having to regularly swap out bulbs, projecting to save hundreds of dollars a year in maintenance. Estimated payback for the Cree LED lighting solution is 2.3 years.

“I’m very pleased,” Szott concludes. “The color looks great from the highway; it looks great underneath. It’s more uniform. And you can definitely better appreciate the colors of the cars. We certainly have gotten better light out there. And that’s good for business.”

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